There’s a city or town for everyone, for me it’s Portland  

if you love nature,wildlife,sustainable cities,forward thinking people,farmers markets,happy children, art,museums,books,biking,hiking,good food,coffee,breweries,craft distilleries,hipsters and rainy days  … then it might be for you too.

My husband has the opportunity to work out of the Oregon or Arizona location,and we have been planning to transfer and move there permanently. 

Long before traveling to Israel, we routinely went up to Portland. That was the beginning of a fun and chaotic journey.

5 temporary year long corporate assignments in 10 years. 3 years in Oregon and 2 in Israel …noooo,we are are not crazy at all 😉 

I miss that city…we both fell in love with Portland, found happiness there ,we fit in and experienced a lot of personal growth. We made a lifetime of happy memories. 

everything is changing now …our two boys are growing up so fast ,it feels like it happened overnight. They are adjusting well to life at home after living abroad, finding direction and discovering passion. Caden is a junior in high school and works as a lifeguard/swimming instructor and he is on varsity cheer. Mason just started high school and is enrolled in a two year sports medicine program that earns dual college credit , looking forward to soccer tryouts, and playing goalkeeper with club soccer.

It’s exciting to see your children happy and interested. We have a good balance right now. Clearly this prefigures our decision to move them. I start back to school in the Fall …everything is falling into place here in AZ. 

Living in the Middle East for two years was an amazing way to have new experiences and grow more as a person, we all gained so much, it changes your perspective, and provided many opportunities to travel to Europe and Africa. Moving to Portland has began to lose its appeal , Eric has a sort-of a “been there done that” attitude about it. …I am sad to see my beloved Portland slip away.

On staying positive, he is frequently there on business, I will just tag along to get my fix of stumptown coffee and the incredible natural beauty of the Northwest!  

 … I loved being back in Oregon this week. We had a good visit with family and friends. Only a few tears for me #bittersweet  

{on to the next adventure }


Haarlem for a day, Israel for a week, Paris for a night

Business trip for my husband and an unexpected trip for me.

Thanks to an invite from my wonderful hubby and what i would call extremely fortunate timing,like time off from school due to spring break … the kiddos are on break too , this means not a lot going on (school activities , sports etc.) this really means ——->this mamma is free to go.

Flights look great too! Right before Passover and Easter is an inexpensive time to travel to the Holy Land and you will avoid the crowds.

Craving delicious Middle Eastern food since we left 8 months ago and missing many friends, ,the beautiful Mediterranean Sea , Jerusalem, Tel Aviv , Jaffa and more…………………………

Despite Eric’s busy work schedule, we were able to plan some quality time together. Traveling along with your spouse on a business trip can be stressful, he has a full week of meetings and work and my sole objective is to pull him away and have fun. As happy as he was to see me, he is engrossed in his job.

OK, so I will declare my Independence!


*First connection Schiphol = day trip to Haarlem.  not to be confused with Harlem, New York,  Haarlem, Netherlands dates back to Gothic times with picturesque canals,cobblestone streets,old churches, hidden gardens and many dutch museums.  I am lucky I have a wonderful Dutch friends who recommended this itinerary 🙂 thanks Petra wish you were here! 

Traveling to and from Haarlem from Schiohol is easy

you change trains at Amsterdam Sloterdijk station. Or for a more direct route,which is what I did take Bus 300 called the Zuidtangent which runs every 10-15 minutes between Schiphol airport and Haarlem Central Station. The trip takes about 30-40 minutes. Buses are outside Schiphol airport, Zuidtangent is a big red bus with white writing on a grey background.


Snowshoeing, snowboarding, and wine tasting …everybody was happy. Durango , Colorado

 Second day of snowboarding for the kiddos . We decided to book a Snowshoe & Wine Tasting tour with the resort They take you up the chairlift and you hike back down after exploring the beautiful back country. The San Juan mountains are very scenic. We watched the sunset on the back side of the mountain. Our guides were knowledgeable, fun and the wine was absolutely delicious. While on our snowshoe trek we looked for native wildlife and animal tracks. The area is home to a wide range of species including moose, white tail deer, bear, coyote, lynx, bobcats, snowshoe hares, owls and fox.  After we returned from the tour we tasted 4 more superb wines and were served tapas. It was a great way to spend the day with my love.



Spicy Weekend in Hatch, New Mexico

it was a spicy weekend at the Hatch chili festival in Hatch, New Mexico

Eric and I are both in LOVE with New Mexican cuisine ,one of the pluses of living in the southwest region is the food. So incredibly flavorful and when Hatch chili season arrives each year local grocery stores and restaurants celebrate the occasion with roasting events.

These gems areconsidered New Mexico’s preeminent chili pepper, Hatch Chiles are favored across the globe….  we’ve always talked about just getting in the car and heading to the colorful state known for its famous Green Chile.

…about 8 hours by car from Phoenix .The drive has some scenic stretches through rugged mountains with excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, including elk, red-tailed hawk, gambel’s quail, and golden eagles. 

Best restaurant: Sparky’s in Hatch

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yummy mango chile shake


Sparky’s green chile cheeseburger

  Side trip :  Truth or Consequences. The town is named after the game show and is famous for natural hot springs we took a dip at La Paloma Hot Springs and Spa

LaPaloma3-275x206     la-paloma-hot-springs

Quaint, clean and cozy, the La Paloma offers a 30 min soak and other spa services for “non-guests”  the water temp was 109 degrees in our private room.
We made it back to our campsite  just in time to watch the sunset on the Rio Grande.



Holland for the weekend

Oh how I love Europe! When I was young, I used to dream of escaping my hometown in San Diego and flying far away to London or Paris. I used to dream of looking out at a beautiful view of Italy from a villa. Then, I had the wonderful opportunity to live abroad. My dream of going to Europe came true. That childhood dream has become even stronger today.

en route to Phoenix we stop in London for just the night , not even time to have a beer in an English pub…  I will have to save that for another time. However, I am looking forward to my first full English breakfast in the am , minus the black pudding (blood sausage made of curdled and boiled pig blood, mixed with pork fat and spices. yeah, no thanks) :O

Then it’s back to heathrow after breakfast to send the kiddos to Grandma. It will be their first time flying international by themselves. They are ecstatic! Me, not so much!


Okay , once the boys are home safe then I will be ecstatic too! …and able to relax and enjoy the weekend in my favorite European country.

I meet so many wonderful Dutch friends during our time in Israel.  The Netherlands will always be near and dear to my heart

Style, picturesque windmills , delicious cheese , beer, art <ahem> Van Gogh , beautiful  flowers , architecture , history, castles and of course the wonderful Dutch people are a few reasons why… and did I mention zillions of bicycles?  Like me , they have a love affair with the bicycle and an extensive network of bicycle paths ( Landelijke fietsroutes ) It is possible to bike the entire country along these well marked routes. No wonder the Dutch can eat all the fries and mayonnaise they want, when you ride as much as they do those calories are burned in an instant!


To Istanbul we go. …

Surprise party to celebrate a milestone , extreme hiking and a small side trip to an oasis in the desert

Surprise celebration with friends in Herzliya, Israel

SUrpRise! Happy 40th birthday Eric!

Back up a day earlier …I planned a surprise ” hike” for my husbands 40th birthday present…he is hard (I mean impossible) to shop for and it’s fair to say he is an avid hiker. Best gift …yes, I did good!!  This was a hike he’d been wanting to do BUT since the description of the trail had me *a tiny bit nervous (strenuous, challenging ,50 meters down a cliff , rope necessary ) I decided to send him with a guide… reasonable solution and clear thinking on my part,right?! 🙂

I  happily stayed behind at the Dead Sea while the two of them set off on the trek known as a rite-of-passage hike for Israelis.

Man, they are in good shape! They did the trail FAST in five hours and change (I will admit this kind of annoyed me) I was looking forward to my”alone time” in this beautiful, serene spa and recreation destination… the Dead Sea itself is considered to be the largest natural spa in the world…from what I read the Nahal Dragot can take up to 10 hours…that would have been just about perfect for me!

 The Nahal Dragot, commonly known as Darja, is one of the most difficult and extreme hikes in Israel its said to be the ONE trail that puts fear and consternation into even the avid hikers heart.

Located in the mountain range across from the Dead Sea. The hike starts at the top of the mountain and goes down into and through the wadi. At times the trail is just inches wide.

 They had to rappel down walls of mountainside that were 15 or 20 meters high, wade and swim through water and  jump from heights of 5 or so meters into said water along with climbing over and under rocks and boulders of all sizes. There are metal hand-holds in sections of  the trail for climbing down nearly blind , across and sideways.

Eric, knowing my ability , felt I would have done fine had I gone. He also expressed that would have been scared and uncomfortable at times…hmmmmm we’ll see if it’s in my future  :O

On my own ,awaiting their safe return I went to the near by Ein Gedi Nature Reserve…a popular spot for tourists

 located in the Judean desert, between the stark barren hills and deep canyons that stretch down to the Dead Sea. I hiked the easy lower David Stream.  The trail passes waterfalls and pools, and leads up to the beautiful David waterfall.

A real oasis in the desert. The  Ein Gedi spring is mentioned in the Bible in the Song of Songs 1:14 and in Samuel I 24:1, where the story is told how David fled to Ein Gedi while he was escaping from King Saul.